20 July 2024

Millwall fans during the Sky Bet Championship match at The Den, London  Stock Photo - Alamy

Alex Grace’s takeaways from Millwall’s 3-0 home defeat to Leeds United – Scoreline not a reflection of the game as deadline day signing produces positive display

Move over Millwall, we're taking your song

The following four observations from Alex Grace from the Sunday lunchtime match at The Den:

Even with the players that have left the club during the summer, Leeds still has a lot of talent. Even so, they had nine Premier League veterans on the team when the day began. In addition, they had what they could bring in off the bench.

With the talent they possess, they ought to return to the Premier League right away; anything less would be a catastrophic failure.

This match did not merit a 3-0 score. The Leeds front guys were largely kept in the dark by Millwall.

At first, the visitors appeared quite unsteady. With balls into the box, Illan Meslier appeared a little flimsy, and a collision with Tom Bradshaw highlighted that flimsiness.

 

In any football game, taking chances is a crucial element.

Even if there are countless statistics available, the goals scored column is the most crucial one. Leeds provided a winning example. They exhibited clinical behavior.

Only three of their shots on goal contributed to their three goals. To succeed in this competition, you don’t have to be great or a fantastic football player. Simply put, you have to take your chances, and Leeds did so forcefully.

For Millwall, the key takeaway is that they gave a strong team a hard fight, but in the end, the final third’s caliber won out.

Despite all of the above, Millwall’s form is beginning to be a real worry – the Lions have won just four of their last 15 games in league and cup. Form that saw them drop out of the play-offs last season when it looked all but secured.

The fanbase is getting itchy and a bit restless. Rotherham will become a big game on Wednesday night, as the Lions need to get some confidence into their ranks. Rotherham, like the Lions, have not started brilliantly, and they will be coming to The Den looking to cash in on a side that are struggling for confidence and in front of goal.

Millwall had 11 shots against the Yorkshireman but created not one big chance. Toothless in attack. That will be the thing worrying Gary Rowett most of all that his team are finding it so hard in the final third of the pitch. That is putting pressure on the rest of the team.

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Leeds were able to overrun the Millwall midfield on numerous occasions on Sunday lunchtime, and that piled more pressure onto a defence that is not at its strongest.

LONGMAN A POSITIVE BUT FLEMMING BENCHED

Ryan Longman and Allan Campbell arrived on season-long loan deals on deadline day. The former is a very versatile player, and he showed that on Sunday by playing at left wing-back. He looked the best player on the pitch from a Millwall perspective. He got forward, tried to create things going forward and also forced Meslier into a good save in the first half.

His corners also caused problems with his corners. For the most part, he looked confident and assured in that left-wing-back role. We know that isn’t the position he has been brought into play but it’s good to know there is a good alternative to have there with Joe Bryan’s start to Millwall life impacted by injuries.

A surprise absentee from the starting lineup was Zian Flemming. The Dutchman has not had the best of starts to the season following all the transfer speculation around his future. However, many in the ground were surprised to see him starting on the bench. He was replaced in the starting 11 by Alan Campbell in that attacking role. The Luton loanee really struggled to have an impact in a game where Millwall’s midfield really struggled.

A CHANCE UPCOMING TO GET THE SEASON GOING

Millwall are always slow starters to the season, we know this – we have seen it every year since they returned to the second tier. We are now entering the period of the season where games start to come thick and fast.

Rotherham are next up on Wednesday night before a trip to West Brom, after that back to back games against Swansea and Plymouth, two teams, the former in particular, have really struggled at the start of this season, and that is something Millwall will need to press home on when they are playing at home.

Playing games back-to-back in a week can have a great effect and build some really positive momentum if you have a good result generated at the start of the run. Obviously, a bad result and it can quickly end up in a downward spiral.

Gary Rowett and his team need to put this result behind them, build on the positives and get that good result that can kickstart their season. We all know what can happen when this club gets on a roll.

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